Sometimes we just don't want to wait for Activa to work when we make ricotta gnudi. Heck, sometimes we just like revisiting preparations to see if we can make some improvements. Today we asked why gnudi are shaped the way they are. I wanted to see if we could change their shape. I started out with the idea of binding gnudi and was looking at tapioca starch and egg white powder to do this. I made three tests, one with egg white powder, one with tapioca starch and one with both. Then I poached a gnudi from each batch. Unfortunately all three preparations failed. But the ricotta base with both tapioca starch and egg white powder showed the most promise.
I then made a ricotta base with an increased amount of tapioca starch and egg white powder. I piped logs of the gnudi base into a hotel pan and then cooked them in our CVap at 82.2°C for twenty minutes. When I pulled the gnudi out of the CVap, both I and the gnudi were deflated. The beautiful logs had fallen and I had a hotel pan coated in gnudi. Still the texture of the cooked base was perfect. I then remembered some large swiss chard gnudi we had made with the additon of flour as the binder. We wrapped them in plastic wrap to set their shape while we steamed them. The result was incredible. So, I set half of our ricotta base in a plastic wrap rolled into a tube. The other half, which was inspired by the failure, was spread flat on acetate sheets using a circular template to shape them. This time the results were wonderful. We ended up with a beautiful log of gnudi which can then be sliced and seared or glazed. We also had beautiful rounds of gnudi. They are flexible, tender and flavorful. We put together a quick dish of the gnudi disks with romaine lettuce leaves and stems, Taleggio milk and our grated smoked and dried lamb liver. It was delicious and the change in shape and size of the gnudi was inspiring and invigorating. We really liked what happened when we combined tapioca starch and egg white powder and are excited to see where we can use this combination next.
300 grams ricotta cheese
20 grams grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1.5 grams salt
0.5 grams ras el hanout
13 grams tapioca starch
13 grams egg white powder
Put the ricotta cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, salt, ras el hanout, tapioca starch and egg white powder into a bowl. Stir the mixture vigorously with a silicone spatula until it is fully combined. Put the gnudi mixture into a pastry bag. Lay one sheet of plastic wrap on the counter and pipe the mixture horizontally down the middle. Fold the plastic wrap over the mixture and roll it into a log. Repeat with the rest of the gnudi bas. Alternatively you can use a circular or other template and a baby offset spatula to spread the mixutre onto acetate sheets (much like spreading tuile dough.) Put the logs of gnudi and/or the acetate sheets into a Cvap set at 82.2°C or in a gentle steamer set over a low heat and cook the logs for 20 minutes and the acetate sheets for 10 minutes until the base is fully cooked and set. Cool the gnudi and refrigerate until ready to use.